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Wexford General Hospital

Mass recalls of colonoscopy patients reveals further cancer risk with patients

Surgeon with the hospital, Kenneth Mealy, said that “issues have arisen in a small number of patients”.

WEXFORD GENERAL HOSPITAL (WGH) has found issues with patients who have been recalled following issues with colonoscopy examinations.

This follows news last week that an investigation, which relates to one consultant, was being carried out into more than 500 patients who underwent colonoscopies at the hospital in 2013 and 2014.

The review was initiated after two cases of cancer emerged in patients who had undergone colonoscopy screenings. It had initially covered 280 patients with a further 331 patients then later recalled.

The Irish Times is reporting today that at least five of those recalled by the hospital have suspected cases of cancer.

This follows news last week that misreading of an X-ray had led to a delayed cancer diagnosis for a patient.

Further tests 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland radio programme this morning, Kenneth Mealy, a consultant surgeon at WGH, said that issues had been found in a “small number of patients”.

Mealy said that the difficulty was with the “visual documentation of completeness” being less than satisfactory in 118 cases.

We are proceeding on the basis that the initial two cancers may have been missed at the original colonoscopy and that is why we have initiated this review process so that we can be absolutely sure that we are offering patients colonoscopies of the highest quality.

He said that patients being recalled would be given appointments at the hospital within six weeks.

How many cases might have been missed?

Figures for the number of cases of cancer that have emerged in those who have been recalled are not officially available.

On this, Mealy said that the hospital was currently operating an “open disclosure policy” with patients and their families and that at this stage it was not possible to give an accurate figure.

“I think a lot of patients are going through an anxious and difficult time and the number will vary depending on the tests that need to be done. So if we find a patient who has a polyp, tests need to be carried out to see if its a cancer or if it’s a harmless polyp,” he said.

The numbers are going to vary and I think that at the end of this process we will be indicating very clearly the number of cancers that may or may not have been missed.

Read: ‘It is a real tragedy for us’: X-ray mistake led to delayed cancer diagnosis

Also: Hundreds more patients recalled over fears scans were misread

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